iMessage iOS 7

Earlier today, we talked about something called the iMessage purgatory syndrome. A common problem for one-time iPhone users that have since switched to an Android-based smartphone or other device is that their phone number is still linked to iMessage. The person might then be unable to receive messages from other iPhone users, since the iMessages are never able to be delivered.

Apple is aware of the issue, and has a team of engineers tasked with identifying a solution. In the meantime, if you are someone in this situation, there is actually a very simple method to disassociate your phone number with iMessage. It will take just a few minutes or less. Read ahead for step-by-step instructions on how to remove a phone number from iMessage.

Update: since this post was published, Apple has now made a tool to help you unregister a phone number from iMessage.

How to unlink iMessage from a phone number

Step 1: Sign in with your Apple ID at My Support Profile on Apple’s website.

Step 1

Step 2: If you no longer own the device, click on the iPhone you wish to unregister.

Step 2

Step 3: Click on the Unregister button and confirm this action.

Step 3

Step 4: A validation screen will appear. I unregistered my iPod touch to demonstrate.

Step 4

I told you it was that simple. If all things went successful, your iPhone and phone number will no longer be associated with your Apple ID. You should then be able to receive text messages as normal on your new non-Apple smartphone without them being diverted as iMessages.

But, as Apple has noted, there really is no guaranteed solution to solve this problem yet. Other last-ditch solutions are disabling iMessage in Settings under Messages before switching away from your iPhone, or manually telling all of your contacts with iPhones to delete your number off of their phone.

This how-to is part of a series of quick tips here at iDownloadBlog. We hope that our audience will understand that there are both novice and experienced iOS users that read this blog, so please do not be overly critical if this topic is something you already know about. In fact, we encourage our iOS power users to suggest more advanced topics that they would like covered in the comments section down below.

  • emayteetee

    I just put those same instructions as a comment on the other post from this morning. SOB.

    • I prepared this article a full 24 hours ago, so it is surely coincidental.

  • Jeff

    yeah, just went through this whole fiasco when i switched to Galaxy Note 3 (love it btw). Apple customer support didnt even want to talk to me until i paid them like 40 bucks since my iphone 5 was over a year old. but since i have an ipad air, they had to help for free.

    basically told me it may or may not be fixed within 45 days. i tried the “Fix” on this page, and almost a week later, still nothing. there is literally nothing you can do once the iphone is deactivated, you must have a working sim in the iphone to turn it off, and that may still not even work.

    i finally did the only thing i could think of… i changed my number and now everything is working! and t-mobile even waived the $15 fee since it was apple’s fault.

    • Brett O’keefe

      I managed to do it. Put the sim in my daughters iphone and changed the number in settings to mine to be sure. Turned imessage off in that phone and deregistered the one i no longer had. Then logged out of my apple id on every apple device I own. When I logged back in my number was no longer listed and my wife could send a text from her iphone to my glalaxy straight away

  • Cam

    If I chose not to do this, but get rid of my iphone for an android, would iMessages sent to my phone number still be sent to my iPad?

    • Jeff

      yes it will, i just went through the same issue.

    • Jeff

      i also recommend an android PHONE. they are way better than iPhone unfortunately. not dogging apple, ive been a user for 4 years, but there’s no going back. the os is incredibly stale and you have no idea how limited an iphone is in functionality until you switch.

      for a tablet, ipad is the king, there’s no way i could go to android.

      im not trying to start any apple vs google/android/samsung fights here, just stating my opinion. i thought the same thing (apple is the best, no way i’d go android) for years. when the rumors are “the iphone 6 is gonna be bigger and thinner” and “ios8 is gonna have a healthbook app” and thats all, it was time to go. There were big phones 3-4 years ago, Apple is behind. Hopefully they catch up quickly, there is still hope.

      • iThinkergoiMac

        If you don’t want to start an argument, don’t posit your opinions as facts. Say that Android works for you better than iOS, not Android phones are better than iPhones. I have both, and iOS works far better for me than Android does.

        I respect your opinion about Android phones, but it’s a bit self-contradictory to say “im not trying to start any apple vs google/android/samsung fights here” and then also state that Android phones “are way better than iPhone”. They’re better for you, not necessarily better unequivocally.

      • Jeff

        Since your feelings were so hurt by my post, which already stated it was just my opinion, I went ahead and edited it for you. Hope its ok for you now, ok? Let me know if its ok, I’d hate to hurt your feelings again.

      • Antonakis Kipouros Nikopolidis

        From this reply i am sure you are an idiot(just my opinion)and you are here just to troll(just my opinion) and to pick a fight(just my opinion). From what you are saying in the previous post you can’t argue with that because it’s just my opinion and therefore a fact for me. So don’t bother to reply, in my opinion i am right about you and i don’t want to fight…

      • André On

        iOS is better. Of course. Since you are an iSheep.

      • Over the line

        I’ve had both, and I can state with confidence that Galaxy is unequivocally better than iphone…..In my oh so humble opinion as it concerns me, and what I want from a phone.

      • Jane Tande Smeltzer

        Excellent post. You are right on the money in every aspect. I just switched to the Note 3 from iPhone and I absolutely love it. It has far more capabilities then an iPhone, it’s just learning all the capabilities that take a bit of time. I just wish Samsung rep had informed me of the text messaging issues first.

  • Grnot

    I tried this a couple weeks ago and it didn’t solve the problem. Here’s the ONLY way, as far as I know, that you can disassociate your number:

    1. Find a friend with an iPhone (5 or above if you’re on Verizon).
    2. Have your friend backup his or her iPhone with iTunes and restore.
    3. Remove your SIM card from your new phone and replace the one in your friend’s iPhone with your own.
    4. From your friend’s phone, once setup is complete, turn on and off iMessage in Settings.
    5. Return SIM cards to their rightful homes & restore friend’s iPhone to the backup.

    I was on the phone with an AppleCare rep for quite a long time before I came to this conclusion and he reluctantly confirmed that this is, in fact, the solution. He told me this is “what they used to tell people,” but did not say why they don’t tell people to do it anymore.

  • Mathew Rice

    What are the repercussions of unregistering a device from the support profile? That part isn’t explained. Some adverse effects might ensue and no indication as to what the risks associated with this method are.
    I (and probably others) would appreciate a little more info on this method.

    • Well if you no longer own the iPhone that you are unregistering, there are no repercussions that I can think of. As far as I know, your support profile just keeps your device info tied to your Apple ID for improved customer service. Let me know if you come across any information indicating otherwise.

  • Eikast

    You can call Apple iPhone support and tell them that you need to disassociate your phone number from iMessage. They didn’t even ask me for my serial number just my phone number.

    • Shawn

      I did this when I was switching and it didn’t work. I was then on the phone with them on and off for the next 3 days with the same issues people are talking about.

  • Shawn

    Just know this doesn’t always work.

  • André On

    This is stupid and does NOT work.

  • Ashley Evans

    I’ve been having problems with this for over a year. Most iphone users are able to text me now, but there’s the occasional person that comes to me with the issue. Apple first told me to simply turn off iMessage on my iphone, which seemed to solve most of the problem. Attempted the above solution, but apparently my iphone wasn’t even registered… Went by the apple store earlier today, I have to make an appointment with a technician. The non-technician that I spoke to basically told me to google it, so hear I am, still with no solution.

  • Jessica

    So I switched from iPhone to Android and receiving and sending texts is really weird. I tried doing the instructions above but my iphone is no longer under my devices. What do i do?

  • Scott Robertson

    I just switched and am having this same problem. Nobody at Verizon told me this would happen and they knew the rest of my family has iPhones and switched my phone from an iPhone to Android. After not getting multiple messages from my son and wife, I went back to the Verizon store and they said it’s not my phone’s problem, it’s the other iPhone’s that are the problem. Told me to have my friends and family who have iPhones turn off iMessage and they’ll be able to send me messages. I thought that was ridiculous (it works, but then it messes up their iMessages from their friends and such). I was searching for answers last night and found this and tried it. So far, it isn’t working but I’ll give it a little bit of time.

  • Kayla

    So I just got a new number and a basic phone, nothing fancy….my friend has an iphone, and can’t txt or call me back, but gets my txts….calls won’t show up. She turned off her imessage and it works to txt, but she can’t txt her boyfriend. She said it showed on her phone, that this number was once associated with imessage. How do I disconnect my number from imessage when I know nothing about the previous owner of this number??

  • Over the line

    Finally, someone with a simple solution. Thank you.

  • the mobile# 09192616111 -property OF
    SINCE 2001

  • Carney_U008 email

    Actually however, Anita Sarkeesian’s topic of conversation isn’t even my problem though. I could be perfectly great in case a feminist did exactly the same kind of movies she did about tropes and things that would be better. It’s her opinion in the patriarchy conspiracy theory that makes her laughable to me. An idea that has been shredded by many individuals, a number of whom could recognize as feminist.

  • mrjayviper

    I have my Apple ID signed in on iMessage + Facetime + iCloud on my Air2 and 6s+ but when I go to support profile, I have no devices under me. Any ideas? thanks